Sun, 22 Sep 2019

Police have raided the headquarters of PrivatBank, Ukraine's largest bank, as part of a criminal investigation.

The September 11 raid involved special forces police and was carried out at the lending institution's main office in Dnipro in accordance with a search warrant issued by a district court in the eastern Ukrainian city, according to a PrivatBank press release.

The raid was reportedly related to an investigation into whether bank officials exceeded their authority in concluding agreements with domestic and international recruitment and consulting companies.

PrivatBank was nationalized in 2016 with the backing of the International Monetary Fund because risky lending practices left the bank with a shortfall of billions of dollars.

After its renationalization the state pumped nearly $6 billion into the bank to keep it afloat.

The bank's founder, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, has been vocal about his intention of regaining control of the bank.

Kolomoyskiy faced investigations and government pressure in Ukraine during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko, who was succeeded by current President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Kolomoyskiy, who lived in self-imposed exile for nearly two years, returned to Ukraine after President Zelenskiy's election in April.

The Dnipro raid took place just a day after Zelenskiy and Kolomoyskiy, who are reputed to be close, met publicly for the first time since Zelenskiy's inauguration.

Zelenskiy has previously denied that he would help Kolomoyskiy regain ownership of PrivatBank.

Based on Reuters, TASS, and UNIAN

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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